Destination: Journey – II

It is a good evening. It isn’t raining but the clouds are full of tease. There is no planned destination, and we aren’t really thinking about the lack of one. Perhaps there is a vague sense, where we would reach; it is the journey which has preoccupied our senses, all the while.

Curving through the folds of the hills, we drive through the beauty that is on offer, without condition, without agenda. Here a beautiful flower, there a wise tree. A naughty stream and some sweet chirping. Over the sagely hill, looking at the inscrutable sea below. Beckoning. Hearts full of joy, minds free from everyday shackles, we move. This is the life we had always imagined.

1195: Rails along a Lake

And, then without warning, it comes upon us. There is no destination.

When we don’t know if there was destination or not, the journey is wondrous; the vague, cloudy, unknown sense of the destination is enough to power the journey, directionless, though it may seem. The realisation that there is no destination, however, takes the life out of the journey.

*

I often wonder if a journey is an orphan without a destination. I have written about this often, and I have yet to discover.

Can a journey be a destination?

A Dream, or Perhaps, Not

It was incomplete, but it was beautiful. That dream that was as true as I inhaled and exhaled.

Eyes wide awake, watching the reality around me; there’s a soft blur now, but the dream was sharp and real, when my eyes were closed and I, for a while though it may be, was in a different world. I was outside of me; seeing myself — it was a happy instance; which in this world it can never be.

1968

Yet, it was my world, and its reality was pure; like the crisp sunshine of these southern winter mornings that I feel on my bare neck, under the netted shadows of old trees. It was not another world for sure. It was a time: either experienced and forgotten, or one that was soon due. But one thing was sure.

It was a happy one.

We all know it; for that sweet smile that wakes from a dream, cannot be suppressed; even when aware and awake. It is an empty sense of a foiled recollection; but we know deep down why we smile.

In our innocence, we call it a dream.

I Do It For Your Love

What makes a lover say no to the love that stands, with open arms, asking only, that he take one step towards love?

What purpose or gain, if you love me
Other than being scattered in the whirlwind of my milieu.

What makes a love think so much of the life he has lived and the life that he sees in front of him, that he does not take that step?

I am the denizen of the hovel of grief and pain
It’s only me, who can stay alive in this haunt.
Why would I dream a dream whose reality is remorse
For, in my remorse, you may rue it too.

What makes a lover not see a better life and drives away the love to a better future?

Pray, what purpose, that anyone share this anxious weariness
Let my world remain dreary and dismal
Let the steps in your life be easier, in the least
In traveling with me, nothing but regret awaits you

What makes a lover hope for a good life for his lover, away from him?

What of me; there are many admirers to come
Many tunes that will echo of love, for you
Many tales of love that life is yet to tell you
You have no reason to believe you will not forget me.

Love.

*

I’ve taken serious liberties in translating the song, but have stayed true to the sense this song causes, within. There is an inherent beauty in sad songs, like I mentioned earlier. Even in your happiest moments, these songs remain beautiful, because of the weave of the words and the purity of the emotion that they convey.

It’s love.

*

“Pyar Mujh Se Jo Kiya Tumne”, from Saath Saath (1982), sung by Jagjit Singh

The Same Newness

And way back, I had written how much I love airports.

I haven’t had a chance to feel that love much, in recent times. Haven’t travelled as much.

Today seems very much like that day, that year. And the memories come flooding by. No, I did not take a photo that day. And I am not taking one today either. These are memories, not memorabilia. Printed on your heart with thoughts, ideas, and feelings; not paper and ink.

The cushions are red, the airport is the CSIA, the crowd is very different.

And life’s good.

The Cool Breeze: #Anthem 13

It’s December. Many years ago. My best friend insists that when we play this song, cool breeze fills up our car. Over the years, I have learnt not to question her judgement. She is my navigator, co-pilot, and my DJ. And she fulfils these roles, impeccably. These were the days when Google Maps wasn’t as smart as it is now. We would get lost. And we didn’t care about being lost. Since we didn’t care where we wanted to be, we didn’t care where we were. We didn’t know it then, but perhaps, we liked being lost.

We cared much about the music that played as we drove around aimlessly. The village roads were potholed. And as we climbed and descended these unknown roads, cool breeze danced, for a while in our car. Red mud. She insisted, it was because of this song. Cashew trees. So we experimented, driving back, forth, around, and along those roads. Any other song and the breeze paused. This song, and breeze flowed.

1199: Fortway Canopy

It’s a love song, so it made sense that it played when just the two of us were alone with the trees and the hilly road. I could afford to look at her, because there was no traffic, nor a single soul. It’s not a song that I love for the song that it is. I loved the song because she loved it. I loved the song for the experience of driving while she sat along. She is looking at the valley to her side. I love watching her seeing away.

She isn’t humming along with the song. She is looking at the valley, as we climb the inclining road. But I know it’s playing in her head. That day. I am happy. Whatever her imagination, I know I am a part of it.

There isn’t a happy driver like me, when she is with me.

*

For my non-Hindi audience, here’s the translation of the song. And for whatever reason, if you cannot see this YouTube in your country, search for ‘Zara Zara, RHTDM’.

Photographing the Photographer

Photographers are people too, you know.

And like people are photographed, photographers should be photographed too. As an amateur photographer, I photograph people. These people are more often than not, my friends and my family. Most of them like the photos I take. (or make, as one of them likes to say.) Some times, the people are strangers. I am quite nervous of photographing strangers. Actually, I am afraid. I always think they will object, and take my camera memory card away. I value my privacy, and protect it well (even if I am very open and available on most social networks). There are levels of privacy. I care less for what you could find in any government document or snatch from the local courier. Real privacy is what what’s in your head. The day they can use that, you have lost your privacy. It has little to with credit cards and addresses. And because we have levels of privacy, respect plays a big role for a photographer.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

But, back to the topic.

Photographers are people too.

And the world urgently needs to see this truth. Especially those that think of people who take photographs as photographers. There’s nothing different about people who take photographs. If they have just started photography, it may be different. But for the rest, see them as people in photographs, like they see you. See, in the photographer, what the photographer saw in you. If you do that, two things will happen: one, the photographer will be grateful; two, you might end up becoming a great photographer. As an amateur photographer, however, I advise you this: to make a photograph of a photographer, make sure that he or she doesn’t have a camera or a camera strap around. Strip the photographer of the strap, try, and see them as humans for what they are. Not as photographers.

I leave you with this image.

A photograph of a great photographer (Dorothea Lange), by another great photographer (Elliott Erwitt), where you do not see an evidence of the presence of a photographer.

On either side of the lens.

NYC26511

Due Credit to Magnum photos. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos. USA. Berkeley, California. 1955 [Photo has been used in this post for representational purpose only]

 

My Life’s Diamond (And I Love You So)

It’s dark outside.

When we close our eyes, it’s dark. The real dark. When we open our eyes, we see much light and colour. But it is a different type of dark. We can discern shapes, depth, colours, structure, and form, but we see nothing.

0748: Artificial Patterns

So we close our eyes.

The big blanket of black at the back of our eyelids is comforting. There are no colours. No shapes. No forms. No need for defining anything. It’s peaceful. It is dark grey when we start, and an impermeable black after a while. For just a while.

Then, it all changes.

Crystalline megastructures float in. They are Prussian blue to begin with. So dark a shade we can hardly differentiate between black and blue. The colours of pain. But the experience is peaceful. A mesh of see-through inter-connected horizontal diamonds of blue. The crystal structures move and transform rapidly, creating combinations hitherto unknown. A mathematical ballet; if only I could tell you the formula. It is a tense structure, stretched from this extreme of my emotion to that.

A gentle press on the eyelids, then; I dive into another world.

Green, like the moss of a discarded lake of yore. Magenta, like the colour of your bangles. Brown, like the magical mud I saw in the Deccan fort. White, like milk before I poured it in the tea. Red, like your carefully smeared rounded bindi. Yellow, like the fresh lemon on a Tuesday afternoon. Pink, like the one we both smiled at, at the store. And as one colour gives way to another, I see, in between, nameless colours. Like the trivial moments we shared. Each eventually forgotten, but always cherished, for their essence. A wild and reckless combination of the bases. I am reminded of organic chemistry. Base colours. Base elements.

Each complex crystal is an idea. A memory. A dream. Each one is transient. This is not a play of time. This is a play of experience.

There is a manner about how I love.

This is how, and how much I love you.